Emerging Europe - Best corporate borrower
Gazprom's entry to the international debt markets has been slow and at times laborious. This, after all, is a company that's not famed for its openness. If you ring Gazprom's main number and don't speak Russian, the receptionists hang up on you. If you want to get some time with one of the senior managers in the treasury team, you have to fax a request several days in advance. It's hard to know whom to contact there - the company's been through three CFOs in 12 months. Even bankers who've worked with Gazprom for some time are unsure of the first name of the present CFO. "You just call him Mr Yurlov," says one.
But gradually, over the past year, a spirit of perestroika has descended on Gazprom's finance department. The present CFO, Boris Yurlov (for that is his name), seems to understand the need for dialogue with the markets, as does Peter Bakayev, who is responsible for debt funding at the company. As one banker says: "Bakayev is doing a great job at Gazprom. He's on the phone constantly to investors." And Gazprom has reaped the benefit of this new openness in the four bond deals it has done in the past 12 months, all of which have in their way been groundbreaking, as one would expect of a company bigger than most CEE countries.